Prime minister said to be ‘furious’ after being asked in the House of Commons to withdraw comments about the Labour leader

An increasingly desperate Boris Johnson has ordered his staff to step up personal attacks on the Labour leader Keir Starmer and his record as a lawyer, as confidence in the prime minister’s leadership collapses among Tory party members.

The Observer has been told that Johnson was so furious after last Wednesday’s prime minister’s questions – where he was asked to withdraw comments he made about the Labour leader and the IRA by the Speaker, Lindsay Hoyle – that he turned on his staff for leaving him under-prepared, and asked them to come up with more attack lines on the Labour leader’s career as a lawyer.

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